MSU Looking for a Soccer Coach

The soccer Bulldogs know they are scheduled to report for preseason camp on August 8. What they would like to know now is precisely who they will report to.

Following the abrupt resignation of Neil McGuire, Mississippi State is suddenly needing a new head coach to take charge of the program. McGuire notified the administration this past weekend that he was leaving Starkville for the University of Texas-Austin. He was announced as a new assistant coach for the Longhorns this week. McGuire, a 1997 graduate of Augusta (Ga.) State, reportedly intends to also pursue a doctorate at UT.

The coach's personal goals are leaving the Bulldog program in a crunch, however. The team reports for August camp in just a couple of weeks, and begins the schedule on August 27 with a home match against Middle Tennessee. Thus associate athletic director for women's sports Samye Johnson has little time to search for the new head coach.

Johnson was away from campus Tuesday, speaking in Jackson.

Until this past weekend McGuire was on-track to begin his fifth season with the Bulldogs, having posted a 36-40-5 mark in four years . He was also just one win shy of tying predecessor Bill Findley's record of 37 career victories at State. They are the only head coaches the program has had. The native of Scotland inherited a program that went just 4-16 in 1999, and within two seasons had won the 2001 SEC Western Division title with a program-best 13 victories. He was named league Coach of the Year after winning the first SEC crown ever for a MSU women's program.

The Bulldogs, partly due to an upgrade in schedule strength the past couple of years, have struggled since then, failing to make the last two SEC Tournaments. Last fall the team went 9-8-3 overall and 2-5-2 in league play. But with a number of the leading offensive players returning and a eight-player recruiting class that should garner another top 50 recruiting ranking, State was looking for improvement this season. The list of signees includes Mississippi Gatorade Prep Player of the Year Brandi Parker, one of the top recruits in the nation this past season, and Candian standout Treena Ferguson.

Now everyone involved is left in a pre-preseason limbo. With so little time left before reporting date, it is certainly possible one-year assistant coach Neil MacDonald be promoted to the top job. He has the benefit not only of a year with the veteran players, but a spring working on the new offensive scheme State planned to run in 2004.

By the same token Mississippi State has the chance, albeit a rushed one, to search for a new head coach. This search would be subject to state of Mississippi hiring guidelines, which require advertising the job a set period.

David Murray is the Editor of the Dawgs' Bite magazine and the featured writer for the Dawgs Bite: Powered by website. You can contact him by email at Gene Swindoll, Publisher of Gene's Page, contributed to this article.

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